To determine child support, you can use the calculator below. Select or enter the appropriate information next to each statement. When you have completed the form, click on the calculate button to get an estimate of the amount of determined child support that the non-custodial parent will have to pay to the custodial parent in Arkansas.
May 2020 Update – New Child Support Order
There is a new Child Support Order in Arkansas. The way Arkansas calculates child support has changed!
Previous Arkansas Child Support Calculation
In Arkansas, the way child support is calculated is governed by Administrative Order No. 10. Previously, child support payments were calculated based solely on the income of the non-custodial parent. The calculation did not consider the income of the custodial parent. The custodial parent being the parent that has the child(ren) the majority of the time and the non-custodial parent being the other parent. This method is often referred to as the percent of income method. Arkansas is one of the very few states that still relied on this method. There is a nationwide trend of states changing over to a method that considers both parents’ income.
New Child Support Order in Arkansas
In April of 2019 the Arkansas General Assembly passed An Act to Revise the Family Support Chart to Reflect Payor and Recipient Income. Under this Act, Arkansas will calculate child support payments based on both parents’ income, also known as the income shares model. The Act mandated that a committee revise the family support chart to reflect these changes on or before March 1, 2020. On December 12, 2019, the Supreme Court of Arkansas issued a per curiam opinion, In Re Proposed Amendments to Administrative Order No. 10, in which the Court revealed the proposed changes to Administrative Order No. 10. The proposed changes to Administrative Order No. 10 were open for comment until January 31, 2020. The revised Administrative Order No. 10 was issued by the Supreme Court of Arkansas in a per curium opinion, In Re Implementation of the Revised Administrative Order No. 10, on April 2, 2020. Read below to learn more about the income shares model.
Arkansas Child Support Calculator
You can use this calculator to determine the child support you should pay under Arkansas law. This calculator does not compute deviations when determining child support. You need to speak to a lawyer if you want to deviate.
Parents who don’t have primary physical custody of their children still have a legal obligation to financially support them. Arkansas child support lasts until the child turns 19 or graduates high school, whichever happens first. That being said, a court can determine child support should be paid past that point in certain situations. The amount of child support that the non-custodial parent (the parent who isn’t living with the children) is required to pay is determined on a state-by-state basis. In Arkansas, a non-custodial parent’s support obligation is calculated by using the state’s Child Support Guidelines (see Arkansas Rules and Administrative Order No. 10).
There is a rebuttable presumption that to determine a child support award based on the child support guidelines is the appropriate amount that should be ordered. However, the court has the power to deviate from the guidelines if there is evidence showing that the child(ren) need a different amount of support. When deciding whether or not to deviate, the court will strive to do what is in the best interest of the child, and will only deviate from the guidelines if the award resulting under the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate. Here are some reasons you can deviate from the determined child support:
Standard Reasons to Deviate Child Support:
Food; Shelter and utilities; Clothing; Medical expenses; Educational expenses; Dental expenses; Child care (includes nursery, baby sitting, daycare or other expenses for supervision of children necessary for the custodial parent to work); Accustomed standard of living; Recreation; Insurance; Transportation Expenses; and Other income or assets available to support the child from whatever source, including the income of the custodial parent.
Additional Reasons to Deviate Child Support:
Additional factors may warrant adjustments to the child support obligations and shall include: The procurement and maintenance of life insurance, health insurance, dental insurance for the children’s benefit; The provision or payment of necessary medical, dental, optical, psychological or counseling expenses of the children (e.g., orthopedic shoes, glasses, braces, etc.); The creation or maintenance of a trust fund for the children; The provision or payment of special education needs or expenses of the child; The provision or payment of day care for a child; The extraordinary time spent with the noncustodial parent, or shared or joint custody arrangements; The support required and given by a payor for dependent children, even in the absence of a court order; and Where the amount of child support indicated by the chart is less than the normal costs of child care, the court shall consider whether a deviation is appropriate.
Definition of Income
A parent’s support obligation is based on their monthly income. The idea is for “income” to be a broad term in order to benefit the child. Under Arkansas’ child support guidelines, income means any form of payment (for example wages, commissions, bonuses, worker’s compensation, and interest). Gross income is used to avoid disputes over issues of deductibility that would arise if a net income was used.
How is child support calculated if the non-custodial parent is unemployed or underemployed? In these situations, the court may consider whether the parent is under-employed as a matter of choice or not. If the court determines that the parent is working below their full earning capacity without reasonable cause, the court may impute income to the parent. This means the court may make a parent pay based on what they could make, not based on what they do make.
Income Shares Model
The Court’s changes to the child support guidelines are based on the Income Shares Model, developed by the Child Support Guidelines Project of the National Center for State Courts. The Income Shares Model is based on the concept that children should receive the same proportion of parental income that they would have received had the parents lived together and shared financial resources. Under the income shares model, a child support obligation is calculated using the income of the custodial as well as the non-custodial parent.
The court first determines how much of your combined incomes your child needs to meet basic costs. For example, the revised Administrative Order No. 10 dictates that if the custodial and non-custodial parents earn a combined $3,000 monthly and if you have one child, $469.00 should be devoted to him or her. The next step is to determine how much each of the parents contribute to that $3,000. If the you earn $2,000 and the custodial parent earns $1,000, you’re responsible for 66.66 percent of the $469.00 figure and the custodial parent is responsible for 33.33 percent. The non-custodial parent makes a cash contribution to the custodial parent – child support – and the custodial parent pays her or his percentage directly toward the children’s needs. Under the old Administrative Order No. 10 the non-custodial parent would have been responsible for the entire $469.00 in the above example.
The changes also include a method of calculating support in joint custody cases to provide uniformity across the state. In cases of joint or shared custody, where both parents have responsibility of the child(ren) for at least 141 overnights per calendar year, the court may consider the time spent by the child(ren) with the obligated party as a basis for adjusting the child-support amount. In particular, in deciding whether to adjust child support, the court should consider the presence and amount of disparity between the income of the parties, giving more weight to those disparities in the parties’ income of less than 20% and considering which parent is responsible for the majority of the expenses, such as routine clothing costs, costs for extracurricular activities, school supplies, and any other similar fixed expenses.
Modification of Existing Child Support Obligations
Normally, an Arkansas Court will not change a non-custodial parent’s child support obligation unless there has been a material change of circumstances. Arkansas law says that a change of 20% or $100 in income is a material change that will allow a modification of your child support obligation.
However, in the Court’s changes to the child support guidelines, the Court has stated that an inconsistency between an existing child-support award and the amount of child support that results from applying the Family Support Chart based on the Income Shares Model shall be a material change of circumstances sufficient to support a petition to modify child support with some exceptions. All of this meaning that the revised Administrative Order No. 10 gives many people the opportunity to modify their child support obligations to better fit their situation.
If you want to modify child support payments, you need to hire a family lawyer who can ask the court to change child support. If your income goes down and you should be paying less child support, it’s important to hire an attorney quickly.